Another LA airport bites the dust. First Palmdale, now Oxnard.
With diminishing traffic and lack of profits, Skywest/United Express ceased operations at Oxnard Regional Airport (OXR) this week. Skywest, linking OXR to LAX, had used a 50-seat turboprop for the 15 minute flight.
But the airline’s passenger numbers have been dropping for years, said airport manager Jorge Rubio. About two years ago, the airline served more than 1,800 passengers per month in Oxnard, he said. Now, the airline serves between 600 and 700 passengers monthly, he said.
"This is the lowest it has ever been," he said.
I never had the chance to fly out of Oxnard, but am never happy to see an airline cease service to an airport, especially when Oxnard is now left with no commercial service.
There are several airports in the LA region that can support commercial service but currently have none:
- Santa Monica
- Van Nuys
- Torrance (though its close proximity to LAX is a problem)
Utilizing these airports is theoretically a way to reduce congestion at LAX, but maintaining extra ground staff and gauging consumer demand before investing in a particular airport is a daunting task. Skywest tried to succeed at PMD, but after the government subsidies ran out there just was not a financial incentive to remain. With passengers counts nearly 2/3 lower at OXR than they were two years ago, it is no surprise that Skywest is pulling out (as an aside, Skywest is abandoning its Santa Barbara-San Jose route as well, a rare non-hub to non-hub route in the United Express network).
For now, Burbank, Santa Ana, Long Beach, and Ontario are your only alternatives to LAX if you are flying into Southern California.